Just got back from Malandag, Sarangani Province in Mindanao. We took a land trip to Davao City and the flight back to Manila was horrible. We have to go through a three to four hour delay due to bad weather. Davao City was on halt due to flooding. Upland in Sarangani, flooding is not an issue but the lack of forest cover is sure less protection from a heavy down pour down hill.
Clear cut land is a usual site in my travels and it has been common in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Land has not been properly utilized to maximize its benefits. People in power and the mass and hordes of proverty stricken people have brazenly utilized land towards degradation without foreseeing the possible tragedies that may lie ahead. Regardless of periodic and seasonal tragedies that were already experienced, not much has changed. Population grows grows grows and land is used brazenly, may be this is what we really want small steps towards our total destruction or we just make ourselves blind because not knowing is not hurting.
Walking home after an appointment was cancelled. Please, don’t let us believe that this is God’s Wrath for corruption, this is just another impact of rising sea levels. Climate change is already here, we just need to adapt to it.
Three consecutive posts about Compostela Valley, Philippines. First of a happier time a few weeks back. I even posted that picture happy picture as my facebook profile photo.
It seems climate change is indeed a reality but over and over again in a year we keep on hearing the news of dead bodies being recovered because of lack disaster preparedness and response. It seems this will be the norm, the annual destructive storms and the loss of lives and damage to property that comes with it.
Anyway, we ourselves put ourselves at risk because if you are dirt poor, you rarely think of tomorrow, you think of how you can eke out a living for today. Compostela valley is rich in natural resources. The first thing I noticed when I entered the mountainous areas of the valley is though there is no large scale mining operations and there may be a ban in small scale mining operations, deforestation still occurs. Upland farming is still being done and slash and burn system still prevails.
Everyone has the freedom to do what they want just to survive their day to day situation. That’s a a democracy, I guess. However, freedom puts you at risk because you open yourself up to hazardous situations that can also kill you when the time comes. People know that what they do is dangerous and they know the risk.
44 dead in Compostela Valley town.
Less than a month ago with my guides, we passed by the town of New Bataan in Compostela Valley Province, Philippines. First comment was the town was experiencing progress. Roads are being concreted and travel was easy. The province was known for limited infrastructure and undeniably small scale illegal mining scattered throughout the province. A disaster is always ready to happen given the status quo, with or without a typhoon, news of accidents in mine sites have been common in other towns such as Pantukan and Diwalwal. The scale and magnitude of the typhoon was the realization that disaster was indeed waiting to happen and risk had been common.
Its funny how people being interviewed on TV saying that they did not expect something like Ondoy would recur in three (3) years time, well it did and there wasn’t even a typhoon to blame just the usual Southwest Monsoon that we experience every year since the last ice age.
In the Philippines, climate change is still not yet a mainstream idea. When the western world is already willing to pay us for adapting to climate change, people still could not grasp the totality and reality of climate change which what happened a week ago. In October 2009, when I started this blog, the country was bombarded with Climate change propaganda. But that seems to be it, a propaganda that will soon fade, just like the peak and trough propaganda being bombarded by the government.
It is a reality, yet we could not connect the dots and could not understand the phenomenon. For the past five (5) years I have been wanting to become a GHG auditor/climate change verifier but with things happening around me, it makes me think if what I am doing does make sense. Literature has constantly reminded me that a country like the Philippines doesn’t need GHG mitigation efforts but rather climate change adaptation efforts. If we are going to invest in wind turbines that will just be toppled down by the annual monsoon, why is the western world willing to pay us for something that is obviously a risky investment?
Is it for the sake of brotherhood and the good of mankind? My economic training says otherwise. What am I supposed to do? Adapt or die? The recent disaster enlightened us that that there are many ways that people can die due to climate change, majority died of drowning after gushing flood waters topple everything in its path. People got hit by lightning and a number got electrocuted when live electric wires made contact with flood water. Others died of a heart attack when they just got overwhelmed of such a disaster happening in front of them. Gradually, fatalities can also be caused by diseases such as leptospirosis, dengue hemorrhagic fever or even the flu or the common cold.
In 2009, grants, aids, loans, etc. and other financial pledges had awashed the Philippines to adapt to climate change, after three years, the results were, you know mediocre like any investment made in this country.